In a team that included Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture and Liza Fior of muf architecture/art, David Kohn Architects were commissioned to revamp this two-story former candy factory on the other side of the river from the Olympic Park following a competition organised by Design for London. Funded by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) as part of its attempt to stitch Olympic-fringe neighbourhoods into the Park once the Games are gone, the brief called for a new cultural beacon which would serve the existing Wick community and provide a public face for visitors; a sort of unofficial tourist information office for the artists of Hackney Wick.
Unsurprisingly, given the building's moniker, most of the external and internal spaces are painted white. A dark red runs through the building, uniting various spaces: door frames, doors and the factory's existing steel trusses are all painted the same lush crimson. One of the most enjoyably innovative aspects of the building is the lambswool insulation which hangs from the ceiling in red-string nets, pillowing out from between the steel trusses, and hiding an asbestos sheet roof. Such innovation was partly the result of a limited budget as, surely, was the decision to retain the existing building rather than demolish it to make way for something new. With only 635 thousand euros to spend, removing the asbestos roof wasn't financially practical; thus the lambswool-filled nets take care of that problem, while also aiding acoustics and adding character to the rather spartan spaces.
It's clear that an unofficial part of the brief must have been to encourage a layout which would make the building appeal as a hire venue during the Olympics